Many scouts around the nation believe that Stanford Cardinal starting pitcher Mark Appel will be the No. 1 overall pick at the 2012 MLB Draft. Typically it a high school player going at the top-spot in the draft given their upside and potential, but Appel is the real deal. He features ace-like stuff on the mound, has the frame to hold up over the course of a long season and knows how to pitch on the mound.
Appel and the No. 2 ranked Stanford Cardinal recently took on the No. 8 ranked Arizona Wildcats in Tucson. ESPN scouting guru Keith Law made the trip and watched the righty. Here is a snippet from his latest update:
Appel was 95-97 early in his outing and pitched at 94-95 even later in the game, at times showing a plus changeup and an above-average slider. But his location was inconsistent on all three pitches, and his tendency to leave the two offspeed offerings up in the zone was behind most of the 12 hits Appel gave up in 8-plus innings of work. (He never should have gone out for the ninth, but eight innings is only a half-day's work in the minds of Stanford's coaching staff.) He did throw several changeups in the 80-82 range with good tumble, but when he doesn't finish the pitch and get it down in the zone, it's like a BP fastball, and Arizona hitters had no trouble turning on it.
According to Law, he still believes Appel will be the No. 1 selection, although he needs to continue working on his command if he hopes to become an ace one day at the Major League level. The Pac-12 conference will provide him with some tough compeition and he will get no breaks from here on out.
For more on the Cardinal, Appel and their baseball program, be sure to check out Rule Of Tree.